2020 Armenian constitutional referendum

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A constitutional referendum was planned to be held in Armenia on 5 April 2020.[1] However, on 16 March it was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.[2]

Proposed amendments[edit]

The proposed amendments to article 213 of the constitution of Armenia would result in the dismissal of the seven judges of the nine-member Constitutional Court who were appointed before the 2018 revolution.[3][4] Article 213 is a transitional amendment in the form of a grandfather clause, allowing the judges chosen before the promulgation of the 2015 constitution to remain in the Court in accordance with the rules in place when they were chosen. New judges (post-2015) are chosen for a twelve-year term, while the previous judges either remained in office until reaching 65 years-old (according to the 1995 constitution) or 70 years old (according to the 2005 constitution). The seven judges appointed before the 2015 constitution have all served for more than twelve years, with some only scheduled to retire in 2035.

The proposed amendments followed a ruling by the Constitutional Court in September 2019 that charges against former President Robert Kocharyan were partly unconstitutional. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan claimed that "the only hope of the former corrupt regime is pinned on the Constitutional Court and its president Hrayr Tovmasyan."[1]

Although members of the National Assembly had the powers to pass the amendment removing the judges without calling a referendum by voting by a two-thirds majority to do so,[4] the legislation was approved on 6 February by 88 votes to 15, followed by the abstention of these 88 MPs from the vote on avoiding a referendum, deliberately triggering one.[3] The legislation was signed by President Armen Sarkissian on 9 February.[1]

The referendum was opposed by the Bright Armenia party, which claimed proper procedures had not been followed as a review of the proposals had not been completed by the State-Legal Standing Committee.[5]

In accordance with article 207 of the 2015 constitution, in order to be passed, the proposals need to be approved by a majority of all votes cast in a referendum (including invalid and blank) with at least 25% of all registered voters voting in favour.[6]

Positions[edit]

Position Parties
☑Y Yes My Step Alliance/Civil Contract
Citizen's Decision[7]
Hanrapetutyun Party[8]
Armenian National Congress[9]
People's Party of Armenia[10]
Ramkavar[11]
Boycott Prosperous Armenia
Bright Armenia[12]
Armenian Revolutionary Federation[13]
Republican Party of Armenia[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Armenia to Hold Referendum on Constitutional Court in April The New York Times, 9 February 2020
  2. ^ "Armenia declares one-month state of emergency for coronavirus". Reuters. 2020-03-01. Retrieved 2020-03-16.
  3. ^ a b Constitutional amendments to be put on a referendum Public Radio of Armenia, 6 February 2020
  4. ^ a b Referendum Called: Part II: The Armenian Government’s Plan to Change the Constitution EVN, 7 February 2020
  5. ^ Bright Armenia hopes president will not sign bill on conduction of constitutional referendum and will apply to CC: Edmon Marukyan Aysor, 7 February 2020
  6. ^ Constitution President of Armenia
  7. ^ Armenia: Citizen's Decision Party Supports Constitutional Referendum Hetq, 17 February 2020
  8. ^ Armenia's Republic Party issues statement supporting constitutional amendments News.am, 11 February 2020
  9. ^ "ՀԱԿ-ը կողմ է սահմանադրական փոփոխությանը և ակտիվորեն կմասնակցի հանրաքվեին". azatutyun.am (in Armenian). RFE/RL. 11 February 2020.
  10. ^ "ՀԺԿ-ն կողմ է սահմանադրական փոփոխության առաջարկին". medialab.am (in Armenian). 17 February 2020.
  11. ^ "ՌԱԿ-ը կոչ է անում մասնակցել հանրաքվեին և Այո՛ ասել սահմանադրական բարեփոխումներին". factor.am (in Armenian). 2 March 2020.
  12. ^ More Armenian Opposition Parties To Shun Constitutional Referendum Azatutyun, 14 February 2020
  13. ^ ARF-D calls to ignore April 5 referendum Aysor, 13 February 2020
  14. ^ Armenia ex-ruling party: Referendum agenda is destructive News.am, 14 February 2020